The University of Iowa

Cooking Overseas

Cartoon rat holding a spoon from the film Ratatouille
When you go abroad, the chances are good that you will live in a self-catering student residence hall or an apartment in your new home town. And that means you may have to do all of your own cooking instead of going to a cafeteria for every meal. This site will help you get started if you have never cooked before, and help you become a better cook if you already have some experience.

We'll discuss some of the differences between cooking in the U.S. and overseas, give you some tips on how to set up your kitchen, suggest some good places to go for recipes, provide some advice that will help make cooking enjoyable, healthy, and inexpensive, and suggest some resources and links to help you keep learning.

Making your own food doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be a great way to relax after a day of classes and studying, and it will SAVE YOU MONEY, which is one of the main reasons to do it. Creating your own meals is generally a healthier way of eating, too, especially if you shop for ingredients locally and avoid buying overly-processed foods at a grocery store. And cooking can be a great way to meet other people – local students and other study abroad students sharing the same kitchen will be more willing to strike up a conversation if there’s something savory on the stove.

We’d like to hear from you! If you have a favorite recipe that you have learned since you went overseas, please share it with us. If you have some tips and advice for other students, let us know.

Twenty examples of Thai produce labeled with Thai names